Oratory of San Bernardino Siena

The Oratory of the Compagnia di San Bernardino is located near the San Francesco Basilica in Siena. it is divided into a Cappella Inferiore and a Cappella Superiore. The latter contains the more famous works of art. Several rooms of the Oratory are being used by the Museo Diocesano.

Oratory of San Bernardino Siena

Useful Information

The address of the Oratorio della Compagnia di San Bernardino is Piazza S. Francesco, 7,53100 Siena.

Oratory of San Bernardino Siena
Oratory of San Bernardino

History and Description

The Oratory of San Bernardino is dedicated to Saint Bernardino degli Albizzeschi, whose family was from Siena itself. He himself had been born (in 1380) in Massa Marittima, but had spent a great deal of time in Siena helping to reform the Franciscan Order there and to bring the warring political parties to peace.

The Oratory was built in the 15th century, on the site where the saint often used to preach. It consists of an upper (superiore) and a lower (inferiore) section.

Cappella Inferiore

The Cappella Inferiore was decorated in the 17th century by local artists, including two 16th century terracotta statues depicting “St. Bernardino” and “St. Caterina” and a “Madonna and Child” painted by Andrea del Bresciano.

Cappella Superiore

"Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple" by Il Sodoma (Oratory of San Bernardino Siena)
“Presentation of Mary at the Temple”, il Sodoma.

The Cappella Superiore is the more interesting of the two and is characterized by a magnificent ceiling and wooden walls decorated with plaster by Ventura Turapilli in 1496. Highlights are frescoes by Girolamo del Pacchia (“Birth of Mary”, “San Bernardino”, “The Archangel Gabriel”), Beccafumi (“The Wedding”, Madonna in Glory with Saints”, “Passage of Mary”) and Sodoma (“San Ludovico”, “Presentation of Mary at the Temple”, “San Francesco d’Assisi”, “Visitation of Mary” and “Coronation of Mary”).

Near the altar is a “Madonna and Child” by the hand of Sano di Pietro.

San Bernardino Oratory, Siena


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